Germany and California Meet Over Shared Clean Energy Goals

If Germany is to meet its clean energy goals, it will likely demand electrification of its transportation sector along with other greenhouse gas emission efforts.

That was a fact gleaned from the California-Germany Bilateral Energy Conference held in Sacramento where the shared energy goals by the two became apparent.

The conference was organized by the California Energy Commission with the German Ministry of Energy and Economic Affairs. Attendees included energy officials from Germany and China, and representatives from California utilities and companies such as Tesla.

The two governments are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase renewables, and reduce load through energy efficiency measures, all while still building a strong economy.

Germany’s renewable energy goals include reducing carbon emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. In California, the goal is reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

The Oct. 19 to 20 conference plumbed issues like long-term planning for the energy sector and how to integrate renewable power into the transportation sector.

The role that transportation plays in greenhouse gas emissions in California was part of a panel discussion at the conference.

“Transportation accounts for about 40 percent of emissions in California and if you include indirect emissions, when converting petroleum into gas, it may be as much as 50 percent,” said Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller. One solution to the problem is electrifying the transportation sector.

Southern California Edison President Ronald Nichols said the drive towards electrification in the transportation sector will be essential to California. He couched it as a social justice issue.

“In Southern California we have the port of Los Angeles and Long Beach… and coming out of those ports is all the trucking serving the Los Angeles and a portion of country,” he said. “ Those vehicles line up on freeways and move at a slow pace, and (they) move past significantly disadvantaged communities.”

Electric vehicle charging was also a topic discussed during the conference. This included the idea that electric cars can operate under a “mobile metering” plan, where the metering data on charging and power flow to the grid stays with the electric vehicle and not at the charging station.

The California-Germany Bilateral Energy Conference was live streamed from the Energy Commission's Facebook page and can be re-watched here.

California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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